John Locke On Tolerance Analysis

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The confrontation against otherness, that is to say with someone who is different from us, places us instinctively in a situation of intolerance because acknowledging that someone else is right would be lived as a kind of humiliation since it would mean that I'm wrong. However, it also appears obvious to defend tolerance as a result of the mistakes from the different wars of religion. It is in this perspective that John Locke wrote his Letter on Tolerance, and I am going to try to analyse it. This Letter is part of the field of moral and political philosophy and its purpose is about religious tolerance. According to the Oxford dictionary, toleration is: ‘’The practice of tolerating something, in particular differences of opinion or behaviour’’. …show more content…
This means that Locke defends tolerance by showing not the positive consequences of tolerance but by highlighting the harmful consequences of its opposite, intolerance. First, Locke speaks of "the spirit of persecution" and "anti-Christian cruelty." Concerning "the spirit of persecution", it must be remembered that this was characteristic during the wars of religion in which fanatics did not tolerate any other religion than they sought to "persecute" others, that is, to crush them; there was a desire for destruction of the other. Tolerance necessarily eliminates persecution since it demands the abstention of judgments on others. Locke highlights "anti-Christian cruelty" to give an example of persecution. Locke denounces libertinage, that is to say to flirt here and elsewhere without following reasonable rules which is the right in a passionate way. This makes me realize that tolerance can never be absolute, it’s the antithesis of ‘’laisser faire’’.

To conclude the explanation of the sections that helped me analysing John Locke's Letter on Tolerance, I have pointed that religious toleration was necessary and that this tolerance was understood in its negative sense, (in the sense of refraining from judgment). It concerns the State's view of religions.

We note the importance of the ideas conveyed by this Letter in our modern societies, of which secularism, that is to say the separation of the State and the Church, is one of the major components. We can also wonder if Locke himself was tolerant towards other religious beliefs, as a consequence his ‘Letter’ would be

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